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  1. #1

    Looking for a solid provider of a multi-server cluster.

    Hello all...

    We've sent out a few RFQs to sales people who have responded to the "find a host" form here, but I thought it would also be good to get some opinions from the users.

    We have a very large discussion board community that currently experiences about 50,000 daily user sessions, 5 million page views (actual content pages) per month, and just about to crack 1tb of total monthly bandwidth. In March/April of 2006, a significant offline event will likely increase traffic 300% to 500%.

    We need to move to a new provider of dedicated servers who can get us started with a cluster of 4 solid servers, with the ability to grow to many more beyond that. (This is primarily because of extreme recent disappointment with our current provider.)

    Do any of you have recommendations for a provider who can get us off the ground with a solid system for our current needs, yet respond well and quickly to scaling the infrastructure to rapid increases in traffic demands?

    A private rack seems like a logical starting point, and we'd rather not collocate our own equipment.


    (If you're with a provider who you think can help, please just send me a PM and I'll forward our RFQ to you.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Atlanta, Jawja
    Okay, it looks like you've got a good starting point for what you're looking for. What you might also want to consider is a load balancing cluster. Have a single entry point, one to two load balancing units behind that, distributing your http traffic to two servers behind the load balancer(s) and a separate DB server with a crossover connect cable.

    It's NOT going to be a cheap setup, I can guarantee that, however, that should be able to handle the actual traffic you're looking for.

    I would also recommend a fairly robust three web server setup (P IV's with HT) and an Opteron system for your DB server. Depending on your needs after the initial configuration, you could do load balancing on the DB server and add more http servers as your needs go up.

    Again, hopefully you've got a budget for this, and it's not a bottom dollar one, because it's definitely not a bottom dollar need.

    Also, please be careful of ANYONE that PMs you with offers, because that does violate WHT's rules. Who in their right mind would want to go with a host that doesn't respect another site's rules? I know I wouldn't.
    Douglas Hazard - Certifiable Sports Junkie and Sports Community Enthusiast

    Host of Two Cents Radio - Follow @TwoCentsRadio on Twitter (@BearlyDoug on Twitter)

  4. #4
    Thanks Douglas...

    Yeah, load-balancing is where we're headed. But the current cluster of services live nicely on a total of 4 servers:
    1- dual xeon database server, big ram, fast hd
    1- dual xeon web server for primary discussion boards
    1- smaller dual xeon server for member blogs, mail, podcasts
    1- pentium class server for images

    Transitioning this existing set-up might be easiest, then consider a load-balanced cluster for the discussion boards server(s) as our traffic is due to increase in March/April.

    We're aware of the potential costs, and fortunately, ad revenue can currently support the cost of a solid provider. Our quandary is finding that trust-worthy provider we can grow with.

    Thanks for the heads up on the PMs. I had thought it would be more polite to accept queries that way, than muck up the thread.

    BTW: The site is

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    How can you guarantee a solution that won't be cheap as it is offered all over the market? Well anyways, back to the drawing board. There are all kinds of providers out there but I think you should look for a host that will let you have a 1 month grace incase of Ad Revenue Downturn. Cluster solutions ranges from Cheap to Expensive . Load Balancing hardware will always put yourself in the expensive side or if you can work it out with the provider, it can be cheap.

    You may want to see if you can get 4 servers right next to each other with a extra internal lan. Each server should have Dual GBIC capability which can be cost effective. You can also ask providers if they have a hot site option (live servers on demand) for you where you can lease extra servers for 2 weeks to a month to handle traffic fluctuations.

    Have you considered changing the Database server to Dual Opterons instead? It may give you a small margin on performance and save you a few bucks here and there.
    Synergy Blue LLC |
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    New York, NY
    Exchange "1- dual xeon database server, big ram, fast hd" for Dual AMD Opteron 246 which will actually be faster and cheaper . Also, if you run the Opteron in 64 bit it will SMOKE *any* Xeon.
    MediaLayer, LLC - Learn how we can make your website load faster, translating to better conversion rates for your business!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    New York City
    There are quite a few - I would definitely suggest searching this forums. You'll find a lot of reviews and recommendations of top quality providers on this board.

    First I would ask if you were looking in a specific location - there are many providers that can do what you need, but geographical constraints will help me recommend a good provider to you.

    Sam Machiz / Director, Product Development / Ubersmith
    smachiz[at] / [direct] 212-812-4194

  8. #8
    I would consider a setup with 2 DB servers (opteron based, clustered / redundant in some fashion, depending on your DB), 2 Front-end load-balancers (these could be hardware-based or *BSD/Linux-based), several more basic (P4) web servers, and several web servers (running a basic HTTP daemon) for images. Shared Windows 2003 Hosting and Cross-platform Web Development

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I see alot of people talking out of their you know where in this thread

    Bluntly you need to investigate the providers completly and ensure that they have the expertise and experience to deliver you a stable clustered solution.

  10. #10
    Originally posted by WireSix
    Bluntly you need to investigate the providers completly and ensure that they have the expertise and experience to deliver you a stable clustered solution. [/B]
    Bingo! Hardware recommendations are nice, but we have a fiar idea of what we need.

    I much more concerned with the quality of service and support of the vendors we look at than the nuances of hardware selection.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2001


    There are a number of providers offering this type of service, while the majority of the folks in WHT are quick to recommend a popular host and there is nothing wrong with that.

    I suggest looking for a host that is able to meet your needs and still be cost effective and that it makes sense to you and your organization.

    Keep in mind H-A types are costly but if you look around, there are cost effective solutions out there.

    Have a great day.

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